World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0024153964
Reproduction Date:

Title: Jiabiangou  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: The Ditch, Jiuquan, Prisons in China, Maoist China, History of Gansu
Collection: History of Gansu, Jiuquan, Maoist China, Political Repression in China, Prisons in China
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Jiabiangou Labor Camp (Chinese: ; pinyin: Jiābiāngōu; literally: "wedged between ditches") is a former farm labor camp (laogai) located in the area under the administration of Jiuquan City in the northwestern desert region of Gansu Province.[1] The camp was in use during the Anti-Rightist Movement in the years from 1957 to 1961.[1] During its operation, it held approximately 3,000 political prisoners, of whom about 2,500 died at Jiabianguo, mostly of starvation.[1][2][3][4]

Jiabiangou was a camp for "re-education through labor"[1][2] that was used to imprison intellectuals and former government officials that were declared to be "rightist" in the Anti-Rightist Movement of the Communist Party.[1][2] Some inmates were sent to Jiabiangou on the grounds that they had relatives who had owned a business or held a position in the Kuomintang government.[3] Originally designed as a prison to hold 40 to 50 criminals, the camp was overcrowded with 3,000 political prisoners.[1][2] The camp is located 27 kilometres (17 mi) to the northeast of Jiuquan City,[5] on the edge of the Badain Jaran Desert. As a consequence, agriculture in the camp area was limited to small patches of grassland in an oasis surrounded by salt marshes and desert.[2] Yet, no external food supplies were offered to the prisoners. The result was a famine that started in the fall of 1960.[2] In order to survive, prisoners ate leaves,[2][6] tree barks,[2][6] worms and rats,[2][6] human and animal waste,[3] and flesh from dead inmates.[1][2][6] The bodies of the dead were left unburied on the sand dunes surrounding the camp[2][5] as the surviving prisoners were too weak to bury them.[2] The starvation at Jiabianguo took place during the Great Leap Forward (1958-1961) and the Great Chinese Famine (1959-1962), which is estimated to have caused many millions of excess deaths.[7]

In December 1960, senior officials of the Communist Party learned of the situation in the camp and launched an investigation. As a result, amnesties were issued to the survivors and the camp's remaining population evacuated early in 1961.[2] In October 1961, the government ordered the closure of Jiabiangou as well as a cover up.[1] Authorities in Gansu[6] assigned a doctor to the fabrication of medical records for every dead inmate stating various natural causes of death, but never mentioning starvation.[1]

Partially fictionalized accounts of firsthand recollections from 13 survivors of the camp have been presented in the book Woman from Shanghai: Tales of Survival From a Chinese Labor Camp by Xianhui Yang[8] (originally published as "Farewell to Jiabiangou", Chinese: ; pinyin: GàobiéJiābiāngōu, translated into English by Wen Huang with support from a 2007 PEN Translation Fund Grant. The book was adapted into Wang Bing's 2010 film The Ditch.[9] Another account based on interviews with survivors is given in The Tragedy at Jiabiangou by Xu Zhao (2008), Laogai Research Foundation Publications (Chinese).[4]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Howard W. French (2009): Survivors' Stories From China, New York Times, New York Edition, August 25, 2009, page C1
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Wen Huang (2009): I hope to be remembered as a writer who speaks the truth, guest post at Three Percent - a resource for international literature at the University of Rochester
  3. ^ a b c Sarah Halzack (2009): Surviving Jiabiangou, The Washington Post, August 23, 2009
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^ a b James D. Seymour, Richard Anderson (1998): New ghosts, old ghosts: prisons and labor reform camps in China, And East Gate Book, p. 179, footnote B
  6. ^ a b c d e N.N. (2007): The Unknown Gulag, PRI's The World, December 4, 2007
  7. ^
  8. ^ Xianhui Yang (2009): Woman from Shanghai, published by Pantheon, a division of Random House, Inc.
  9. ^ by Chinese director Wang Bing is the Surprise FilmThe DitchLa Biennale di Venezia:

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.